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Welcome to Gardens to Tables
Growing the Gardens at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Chef McDowell in gardenIn the last year, Maui’s Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, has added an extensive array of organic chef's gardens – starting with herbs and then fruit trees and, ultimately, vegetables (175 varieties of vegetables, to be exact). The gardens were the brainchild of Executive Sous Chef Marc McDowell, who offers a personal tour of the gardens every Monday at 3 p.m. that also includes instruction on making a raw food spinach-and-berry smoothie he promises is “delicious.”

In undertaking the project, McDowell has found that growing the food for his kitchens is a lot of fun and inspiring. He’s also found that gardening can be a lot of work, but work he’s found a real passion for -- something he may have gotten from his mother, Mary, who was an expert rose gardener and able to see her son’s project come to life before being diagnosed with stage four cancer and passing away this summer.

I recently spoke with McDowell about the new gardens and some of the things he’s learned along the way. He’s also provided recipes for a cilantro-and-macadamia nut crust and a tropical citrus marinade, both of which can be used on fish, chicken or tofu. (Click “read more” for the whole article and to see the recipes, which are also listed under the “Recipes” tab.)

The Terranea Resort's Basil Grape Martini Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

Here is the recipe for the Basil Grape Martini, served in the lobby bar of the Terranea Resort in Palos Verdes, California -- which offers spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean from its outdoor deck. Whatever your view, I'm sure the drink will be just as tasty and, with the lemons, limes, grapes, basil and cranberry juice, it's chock full of antioxidants.

Muddle two lemons, two limes, four grapes and four basil leaves.
2 oz citron vodka
1 ˝ oz Cointreau
1 oz cranberry juice

Shake, strain into chilled martini glass, garnish with skewed grapes or a lime wedge.

Mar'sel Summer Garden Salad Print E-mail
Written by Chef Michael Fiorelli   
MarselAt the newly opened mar’sel (Spanish for sea and French for salt) restaurant, located on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Palos Verdes and part of the new Terranea Resort, Chef Michael Fiorelli has placed an emphasis in using local ingredients. And that doesn’t just mean visits to the local farms and farmers markets but his own chef’s garden right outside the front door. The garden – and menu – will change seasonally, with planting for fall already under way.

Herbs, fruits and vegetables grown in the garden include purple basil, Russian tarragon, French tarragon, watermelon, cantaloupe, yellow squash, cucumber, rainbow tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, purple red beans, yellow onions, chives, sweet red onions, black beauty eggplant, purple eggplant, baby carrots, rainbow carrots, beets, curly parsley, nasturtium petals, culinary lavender, ghost white pumpkin, summer squash and sweet corn.

For gardeners with an abundance of tomatoes, zucchini, hearts of palm and basil (or cooks with the opportunity to gather these items), Chef Fiorelli offers us the following recipe:

Direct from Garden to Kitchen at Brix Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

It’s pretty much a given today that the top chefs are looking to use the freshest produce in their cooking. Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to be able to follow chefs as they traveled to local farms or scoured farmers markets and talked to the gardeners to find just the right ingredients for that night’s meal.

Brix, the well-regarded restaurant in the Napa Valley town of Yountville, has taken that symbiotic relationship of gardener and chef a step further by having its own two (actually 16, if you include the vineyard and orchard) acres on the property set aside for produce to be used in the restaurant.

I recently talked to Guillermo “Memo” Rodriguez (above), the master gardener at Brix and started by asking what the chefs had come to pick from his garden that day. The answer was English peas, plus some tarragon and parsley and thyme for an English-pea risotto that Executive Chef Anne Gingrass-Paik was looking to put back on the menu. The peas were also being used in a chicken pasta that was already on the menu. (If anyone was lucky enough to eat that dish at Brix on May 29, please let me know how it was …)

Cucumber and Sage Martini Print E-mail
Written by CuisinArt Resort & Spa   
cucumber and sage martiniA cool drink for these hot summer days, courtesy of the CuisinArt Resort & Spa in Anguilla. The resort gets the cucumbers and sage for this cocktail from its comprehensive hydroponic farm and organic gardens. For more information on the resort and the hydroponic farm (which can be toured), visit

CuisinArt's Signature Hydroponic Cucumber and Sage Martini

4 pistachios
1 packet of sugar
1-inch hydroponic cucumber (unpeeled)
6 sage leaves
1 oz. Grey Goose® Poire
˝ oz. Cointreau®
˝ oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
˝ oz. cane syrup


Grind pistachios to a dust in a coffee grinder and mix with sugar on a plate. Wet martini glass edge with water and rim the glass with the pistachio/sugar dust.

In a cocktail shaker, muddle cucumber and sage leaves to a paste. Add ice and all other ingredients and shake vigorously.

Strain liquid into a martini glass. Garnish with a thinly sliced cucumber round and a sage leaf.

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